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Times Square terror suspect wanted to lob grenades at cops and civilians, sources say

NYPD Counter Terrorism officers do surveillance in Times Square, Manhattan, in this file photo. (Robert Sabo/New York Daily News/TNS)

The 22-year-old man arrested for plotting to hurl grenades at visitors to Times Square also wanted to buy defaced firearms and ammo so he could shoot both civilians and police officers, sources said Friday.

Ashiqul Alam, of Jackson Heights in Queens, also wanted to buy grenades that he could lob into crowds at one of New York’s biggest tourist destination, sources said.

Alam was arrested Thursday after investigators caught wind of his plans. He was nabbed following a sting operation in which an undercover officer pretended to sell him the hardware he needed for his bloody campaign.

He was waiting to be arraigned Friday afternoon, officials said.

Investigators described Alam as a lone wolf, and do not believe he was part of a larger plot, sources said.

NBC reported that Alam had first spoken about using a suicide bomb vest so he could blow up politicians in New York and Washington, D.C., but he eventually focused on Times Square, which has been the target of a number of terror threats in recent years.

A car bombing plot was thwarted May 1, 2010, when the device fizzled on West 45th Street and a nearby handbag vendor alerted cops.

Faisal Shahzad pleaded guilty and just five months after the incident was sentenced to life in federal prison. The onetime suburban Connecticut dad was an admirer of Osama bin Laden, and was unrepentant at sentencing, saying he was part of a group of “proud terrorists.”

The 2008 bombing of the military recruiting station in Times Square remains unsolved.

In that case, a man rode up on a blue bicycle early on the morning of March 6 and left the bomb next to the station. The explosion shattered glass, but didn’t hurt anyone.

The FBI said in 2015 it had identified several persons of interest in the case and in similar bombings at the British Consulate in 2005 and the Mexican Consulate in 2007. But no arrests have been made.


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